'Milkshake murderer' Nancy Kissel in second appeal against husband's murder
Milkshake murderer Nancy Kissel was back in court yesterday as she renewed her bid to be cleared of murdering her high-flying banker husband.
Her leading counsel, Edward Fitzgerald QC, told the Court of Appeal that the conviction was flawed because the prosecution made errors during the case and was wrong to have told the jury they could be "sure" Kissel did not suffer from depression.
She was jailed for life in 2005 for feeding her Merrill Lynch banker husband Robert a drug-laced milkshake before bludgeoning him to death with a lead ornament at their Parkview flat in Tai Tam.
But in 2010 the top court ruled the trial had been tainted by improper questioning and hearsay evidence. Prosecutors again charged her with murder.
The American expatriate was jailed for life a second time in March 2011 after the jury rejected her plea of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility, after the court heard tales of infidelity, homosexuality, violence, sodomy and greed.
The defence argued that she suffered from depression and was provoked into killing Robert after enduring years of sexual and physical abuse.
Kissel's lawyers argued yesterday that the retrial should not have taken place as the public had been "poisoned" by the unfair evidence in the original trial.
Her journey from luxury flat to prison cell spawned at least two books and a movie. Media coverage intensified after Robert Kissel's real estate developer brother Andrew was killed in 2006.
A feeble Kissel, 49, needed the help of prison officers to walk into the dock. She whimpered when Fitzgerald read out the prosecution's case of how she killed her husband. Wearing a black blazer, Kissel covered her face with a tissue for most of the hearing and rocked back and forth.
Fitzgerald said the judge should have accepted the application for a permanent stay of proceedings and accepted her manslaughter plea.
"Publicity has poisoned the public attitude to her," he said. "The passage of time and the ordeal of the original trial and appeals had disabled her from doing herself full justice."
Fitzgerald added: "If she had planned and pre-meditated the killing so carefully, why would she end up having her dead husband in the bedroom with her for three days? It doesn't support a cold-blooded killing."
The appeal continues.